Panel level packaging boosts massive growth by perceived cost advantage and productivity benefits

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The rising demands of 5G smartphone, electrical vehicles and data centers drive semiconductor components rapid expansion. The industries increase the investments of advanced packaging technologies to response the trending multi-chip or multi-module packaging technologies. The IDMs, foundry and OSAT service providers increase the capital expenditure for development of wafer level packaging. Meanwhile, in the other hand, the PCB and panel makers are developing fan out panel level packaging (FOPLP) as a way to reduce the cost of advanced packaging. Therefore, on June 1st 2022, Manz AG hosts the "Advanced Packaging Technology Forum" in Sheraton Hsinchu Hotel. This forum explores process challenges of interconnect structure and further depicts the market trends of advanced packaging and multi-chip heterogeneous integration.

Robert Lin, General Manager of Manz Asia, gives his opening lectures on this forum. He looks at the shortage of IC substrates and semiconductor components in automotive market globally. The solutions of FOPLP have gradually become a key area of focus of the industry in recent years. The heterogeneous integration is expecting to extend the Moore's Law for semiconductor industry. And the FOPLP is the prevailing technology in advanced package. Manz is incorporating with supply chain partners and material suppliers to make industry continuing its robust growth and having more prosperous together into the next decades.

There are several welcome speeches by honored guests and co-host partners including Steven Lin, Taiwan Country Manager of NXP Taiwan, Miss Jo-Ann Su, Senior Director of SEMI and Mr. S. Y. Wang, Secretary General of TEEIA. The invited guests are highly regarding to Manz efforts to collaborate with supply chain partners and pioneer the development of FOPLP technologies.

The optimistic semiconductor industry and national technological policy highlights

The first lecture topic of Ray Yang, Consulting Director of ITRI/ISTI, he talks global market insights and Taiwan government funded scientific and technological development planning. Taiwan semiconductor industry have consecutive three years in double-digit growth since 2019. In 2022, the forecast of Taiwan semiconductor industry will generate the NT$ 4.3 trillion having 18% growth yearly. As counting the total production value of supply side vendors, Taiwan is sitting as the second place taking 20% market worldwide in semiconductor industry. America is number one again to take 39% global market share. Yang also shares the recent Samsung and Intel news for predicting the next move of the industry. He explains two major attractive technologies, which are advanced packaging and logic-memory-chip stacking technology.

Additionally, talking about Taiwan government funded development planning, he highlights three major directions. The first, Angstan node process development, the second, GaN and SiC-based compound semiconductor chip development, and the third, AI on Chip or called edge AI development.

Dr. M.H. Chan, R&D Manager of SPIL, shares with audience about the advanced packaging solutions to successfully integrate High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) chips. The solutions provide 2.5D, FO-EB, FOEB-T processes for 3D stacking IC, Embedded Bridge Die and Fan-out packaging technology. The current use cases for these solutions could support 1 GPU + 2 HMB dies or 1 GPU + 4 HMB dies in one packaging chip. The benefits for these processes include lower RC delay time, smaller dimension, shorten product development time, lower manufacturing cost and expanding the use of heterogeneous integration.

The emerging opportunity of FOPLP applications

Dr. Eric Lee, Director of R&D at Manz, talks the topics focusing the business opportunity of FOPLP technology. He points out that FOPLP technology will be one of the emerging solutions for solving semiconductor chip shortage in the automotive industry. Apart from Foundry and OSAT service providers investing wafer level packaging technology by leveraging the higher end lithography tools and expensive equipment to lead the development roadmap, PCB and Panel makers takes different approaches to push FOPLP as the key driving force to solve the problems. Today, there are 95% investments coming to wafer level packaging market. But FOPLP will grasp the fast forwarding opportunity because high manufacturing capacity and cost advantage still becoming permanent competitive advantages.

The current mainstream chips that use FOPLP for integration include AiP antenna modules of 5G smartphone, integrated chips of wearable devices and Internet of Things use cases. The current specification of line width and spacing (L/S) is ranging from 20/20 to 5/5 microns in FOPLP technologies. Due to the reality of high cost structure of higher end IC substrates and slower capacity ramping schedule, FOPLP technologies have strong potential for achieving the goals of miniaturized packaging and lowering costs while the yields rise. FOPLP will continuous gain in the market sectors of lower end SoC chips or middle end multi-chip heterogynous integration applications. The cost advantage of FOPLP will continue to drive the momentum to replace the lower or middle end market, although wafer level packaging increasing in adoption of high end sectors.

Manz FOPLP production solutions are mainly focus on RDL (Re-Distribution Layer) technology. The wide area electroplating equipment produces fined line high density copper interconnection. The key technical challenges include uniformity of electroplating pattering, high resolution and high electrical connectivity. Therefore, the main focus of Manz total production solutions are Cu electroplating equipment and wet chemistry systems. Manz also integrates the process solutions form supply chain partners including sputtering and plasma cleaning systems. Furthermore, Manz provides the Total Fab Solutions from factory planning to production services. The current production design can be used for 600mm x 600mm surface areas. And in 2022, the production solution will extend to 700mm x 700mm areas. Besides the lower cost manufacturing and high performance, Manz has extensive experience in automation, material usage and environmental protection while simultaneously satisfying ESG objectives.

Collaboration with supply chain partners to accelerate the adoption of FOPLP

Mr. P.C. Liu, Vice President of R&D at UVAT technology, talks the Ti-Cu seed layer in-line vacuum sputtering equipment in FOPLP production. The company provides the solutions to improve the production yields. The solutions implement dry etching and sputtering by plasma equipment to do the surface modification, roughening and cleaning to increase the stability of Ti-Cu seed layer formation

Dr. Tim Tsai, Customer account Technology Leader Taiwan of DuPont Taiwan, presents material development projects ranging from PCB to FOPLP industries. His main focus is material differentiation product strategy and process equipment vendors support. The material products are covering main categories including lamination, drilling, high performance dry films, which have better integration with Digital Imaging equipment and electroplating systems. One major thing, for better supporting FOPLP market, DuPont establishes integrated service site in Chungli factory including testing Laboratory, process development and simulation services. This massive investments will strongly support FOPLP supply chain partners to perceive better future for advanced packaging technology.

Jack Huang, Vice President of E&R Engineering Co., gives his speech to introduce the laser drilling and plasma cleaning processes in WLCSP technologies. The company provides the drilling tiny holes in diameters down to 20 microns and further to 10 microns for proofing. The last session is on-line presentation by Miss Yik Yee Tan, senior Market Analyst of Yole Développement. The advanced packaging market is expected to grow from US$ 32 to 57 billion during 2021 to 2027. The CAPEX investments are mainly from Intel, Samsung, TSMC, ASE and several OSAT vendors including China top-3 back-end service providers. Among this emerging market and quick scaling development, the trends are toward to a prosperous development in coming years.

Manz has been investing FOPLP RDL production equipment since 2016. The process verification and testing tasks are successfully applied in real-world applications with supporting key customers to prepare the sample devices. The roadmap is continuing to go to volume production and provide turnkey solutions in the future. Facing the diverse needs of the market, Manz will actively expand the reach of its Total Production Solutions to help customers in different fields construct high performance FOPLP production systems, seizing the opportunities with continuous innovation in advanced packaging applications.

Robert Lin, General Manager of Manz Asia

Robert Lin, General Manager of Manz Asia